The anguish of indocile bodies: prostitution and the armed conflict in contemporary Colombia

José Miguel Nieto Olivar About the author

One of the control strategies used by armed groups as the conflict worsens in Colombia is the control and "management" of prostitution (sexuality in general) in the territories under domination. A sex industry, characterized by violence, fear, manipulation and restricted options, is produced in this situation. What does it means to be a prostitute in the context of armed control in contemporary Colombia? What possibilities do these female sex workers have to exercise their human rights in this context? These questions first arose through our close contact with Lady, "comadre" and friend, between 2003 and 2005. Subsequent field work was conducted in 2007 in Puerto Berrío (central Colombia), aiming at the ethnographic reconstruction of the meaning of prostitution within a paramilitary context of male domination in contemporary Colombia. The traffic of women is shown to be the female part of the recruitment; although the process may be considered relatively voluntary, the final configuration is one of retention-punishment with high costs for the female experience.

Sex Work; Colombia; Human Rights; Traffic


Núcleo de Estudos de Gênero - Pagu Universidade Estadual de Campinas, PAGU Cidade Universitária "Zeferino Vaz", Rua Cora Coralina, 100, 13083-896, Campinas - São Paulo - Brasil, Tel.: (55 19) 3521 7873, (55 19) 3521 1704 - Campinas - SP - Brazil
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